Theme: Outstanding Autism Mother's Week. This week I am profiling amazing and inspiring moms who helped to make things happen for their children with autism.
Today's focus is on Jen Hoppe. This mom appeared on an ABC Nightline News program in 2005 with her then 21-year-old daughter Jaime Hoppe (along with some other adults). The title of the program was "A Place in the World." The focus was adults with autism. Jaime was featured singing the song, "Wind Beneath My Wings." I couldn't help but wonder if Jaime wasn't thinking about her mom and dad when singing this inspiring song.
I was impressed with Mrs. Hoppe and how she talked about creating opportunities for her daughter that previously did not exist. Her daughter was born in 1984 when there wasn't a lot of programs for and information about individuals with autism. I found Mrs. Hoppe to be a positive, proactive individual. I was amazed at how well she comforted her daughter-in-law who had just received an autism diagnosis for her son, then a toddler. Here is a cut and paste from the show's transcript of what she said to her grandson's mom:
"It's going to be okay, honey, it's going to be okay. You're doing everything you can. He's doing well, right? He's doing good. He's going to be fine. He's a baby. I didn't have this chance, okay?Look at how good she is with the chance I didn't have. Can you imagine? It's going to be fine. Got good genes."
One of the opportunities Mrs. Hoppe helped to create (along with her husband, Jim and two other couples) was the Quest Autism Foundation which operates out of the Wyckoff, New Jersey YMCA. The Quest Autism Foundation (QAF) is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that assists and supports adolescents and adults with autism by:
"P R O V I D I N G
excellence in vocational, and recreational services.
P A R T N E R I N G
with a broad spectrum of community sites.
E N A B L I N G
individuals with autism to lead more productive and independent lives.
I N C R E A S I N G
recreational and leisure programs for all.
C O N T R I B U T I N G
to the national dialogue to address the severe shortage of adult services."
My thoughts: One of the biggest needs in the autism community is opportunities for adults with autism. There aren't many. The QAF is hoping that their program will be emulated in other YMCAs. If you are interested in this topic, I'd highly recommend checking out their site by clicking on the link provided above.